The memory of childhood fantasies and excitement is similarly powerful. One cannot see children without imaging what they must be thinking! The recollections promote endless notions of family and friends no longer whinnying among us. Our more charitable instincts are likewise fuelled, making it a challenge to avoid the ringing bells of the Salvation Army volunteer.
The window of opportunity to show our beneficence and magnanimity is a narrow one. Christmas cards - now mostly by email (but some still sent by regular post) - thrive in the days before December 25th. And annual literary summaries of personal adventures and accomplishments. Is it any wonder our focus alters so radically throughout this brief period! No need to succumb to Scrooge - even he is part of the amazement! There is no alternative which defeats the temporary appeal of this annual event.
For a moment this afternoon I recalled the pleasures of a northern Christmas, not only in our own home with the Vermont casting glittering on the hardwood floor but also among the banks of snow in Northern Ontario with family friends; Midnight Mass with my maternal grandparents; restlessly lying in bed on Christmas Eve as a child; gathering with family and friends from afar for Christmas Eve dinner. We've very much diminished that view of Christmas but I haven't any wish to recapture it. The memories linger quite happily without my further disturbance.